Meet The Author: Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall

There are just three sleeps left until the next Little Red Umbrella Variety Spectacular, so we're getting pretty excited. And while some of that is because the drunker we get the more money will be going to the AIDS Committee of Toronto, mostly it's because of the line-up of performers we've, um, lined up. Like, say, author Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall.

His first book, Down to This: Squalor and Splendour in a Big-City Shantytown, was non-fiction: about the year he spent living in Toronto's makeshift Tent City slum. His second is a novel, Ghosted. It tells the story of Mason, a coke-addled gambling addict who stumbles into the job of ghost-writing suicide notes for the severely depressed. It kind of totally rules. And, as if that weren't enough, Bishop-Stall is also an actor who appeared in the greatest television series ever made by anyone ever, The Newsroom.

He was good enough to answer some questions for us, so that you can get to know him a little better before Friday night. (And you can learn more about the event right here.)

How would you describe Ghosted to someone who hasn’t read it yet?

Ghosted is a novel about a young man who becomes a professional ghostwriter of suicide letters. Hilarity ensues.

What makes or breaks a live reading for you?

Mostly length. No matter how damn good you are, if you go on too long you just get boring.

If we had to drop everything and immerse ourselves in a book right now, what should it be?

That’s a cool question. Any book? From ever? How about The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman’ by Louis De Berniers. I probably didn’t spell any of those things right.

Is there a book that you’ve read that you would really like to go back in time and un-read? If so, why?

Perhaps Demian by Herman Hesse – or On the Road, or a mix of both... I think those two, at a particular age, sent me in a very particular direction from which I’m still sort of waiting to return. Good books though. American Psycho for different reasons…

Did you have a favourite book or story to have read to you as a child? What made it so special?

Grover and the Everything in the whole Wide World Museum. I have just rediscovered it and am reading it to my boy. It’s about Grover and a museum that contains everything in the whole wide world. What more is there to say…?

You can choose one author to go out drinking with. Who do you pick, and where do you take them?

I’d take Alice Munro to a Mad Men party… Long story.

What’s your favourite opening to a book?

“Hello Everybodee!! Oh Boy! I am going to see EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!”

If you could re-write the ending to any famous novel, which would it be? And what might you change it to?

This question is giving me a headache. Can I pass?

What word do you love the most?


What word do you absolutely despise?



You'll find the rest of our Meet The Authors here.


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